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Three Cheers for Three-Act Math Lessons: Bringing Enthusiasm into the Math Classroom



Ever wonder why students can master complicated video games, rattle off in-depth statistics about Seahawks players, or explain intricate movie plots, but struggle with solving arithmetic story problems? I know I have, but after teaching some of Graham Fletcher's 3-Act math lessons I am closer to answering that question.

Graham's lessons provide students with a picture or video that inspires students to create their own mathematical inquiry question. Students view the picture or short video and are driven, by their natural curiosity, to ask questions about possible outcomes. These student questions quickly morph into higher-level problem-solving students actually enjoy!

Graham has questions embedded throughout his lesson plans to ask students as they go through their problem-solving processes. In my own classroom, I adapted these questions to create even more student buy-in and shared a Google Doc where students could record their thinking as they worked through each problem. During these lessons, my classroom became a buzzing beehive of happy learners collaborating to find solutions to the questions they had asked themselves.

So, why can brilliant young minds in our classrooms puzzle through gaming, understand the ins-and-outs of QB passing efficiency ratings, and offer in-depth analysis of the twists and turns of the Star Wars saga, but not be able to solve math problems? The answer could be as simple as providing problems for students they actually want to solve.

Link to "The Fish Tank" problem: https://gfletchy.com/the-fish-tank/ 
Sample student document with video links "The Fish Tank": https://goo.gl/CbQewd 

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